In this study, we used Landsat images and meteorological data to examine the spatiotemporal distribution and variability of sea ice in Jiaozhou Bay (JZB) between 1986 and 2016. The results show that JZB is not always covered by sea ice in winter, but in some extreme cases, sea ice has covered more than one-third of the sea area of the bay. Sea ice in JZB has generally formed between January 1 and February 5, primarily along the coast, and gradually expanding to the central area of the bay. Both meteorological and artificial factors have played important roles in modulating the sea ice distribution. We found sea ice coverage to have been strongly correlated with the accumulated freezing-degree days nine days before the occurrence of sea ice ( R 2 = 0.767). North-northwest surface winds have dominated the freezing period of sea water in the JZB, and wind speed has exerted a more significant influence on the formation of sea ice when the sea ice coverage has been generally small. Additionally, artificial factors began to affect the expansion of sea ice in JZB since 2007. The construction of the Jiao-Zhou-Bay Bridge (JZBB) is believed to have retarded water flow and reduced the tidal prism, thereby leading to the formation of an ice bridge along the JZBB, which effectively prevents the southward expansion of sea ice.